Clearwire raises $1.5 billion to fund 4G Wireless rollout

US Wireless broadband provider Clearwire, that provides its ervices in the US and a few European countries, said yesterday that it has raised $1.564 billion in new investment capital from a group of investors to fund its 4G WiMAX network roll out in the US scheduled for next year.

Kirkland, Washington-based Clearwire, which is 51-per cent owned by Sprint Nextel, plans to invest at least $3 billion to build a national WiMAX high-speed wireless network, which includes installing about 20,000 wireless base stations costing approximately $150,000 each.

In the new round of equity financing, Sprint Nextel is the major contributor with $1.176 billion, while Comcast chipped in with $196 million, Time Warner Cable with $103 million, Intel with $50 million, Eagle River with $20 million and Bright House Networks with $19 million. The investment is in exchange for newly issued shares priced at $7.33 per share.

Clearwire will receive approximately $1.057 billion in cash from the equity financing within five business days, $440 million in cash will be funded at a closing which is targeted to be completed by year end 2009, and the remaining $66 million will be funded at a closing which is targeted to be completed during first quarter 2010.

The investors have all pumped in $3.2 billion in Clearwire in a equity raising in the past, but this time Internet giant Google, which had participated in the previous fund raising by Clearwire, preferred to stay away.

Google has since joined hands with Clearwire's rival Verizon Wireless, which has started to market Google Android-based handsets recently, which probably, is the reason as to why Google abstained from the latest Clearwire fundraising.